May 1, 2011

Baseball Team Pitches Well Despite Three Defeats

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A midseason habit of losing the first three games of a weekend and winning the last one reversed itself in the final series of a disappointing season for the Cornell baseball team.Red senior pitcher Jadd Schmeltzer owned the mound on Hoy Field Friday afternoon, pitching a shutout in game one of a doubleheader versus Princeton (21-20, 15-5 Ivy League). Schmeltzer battled the Tigers’ sophomore pitcher Matt Bowman for seven innings, giving up only four hits and earning five strikeouts in 22 at-bats. It was his second complete game of the season.“I felt really good even though I definitely had some nerves going in thinking it was my last game,” Schmeltzer said. “I just wanted to go out there and give it all I had. There was a bit of a rocky start during the first three innings, but it didn’t really get to me. I knew I’d settle down and get into the grove. It was a great way to end my Ivy League career — with a complete game shutout.Bowman arguably had an equally strong game; he struck out three more batters, but gave up three more hits. Schmeltzer claimed the win, 5-0, bringing his record on the season to 3-4, but the Red (10-30, 7-13) dropped game two to the Tigers, 8-5.Cornell junior first baseman Frank Hager earned three RBI in game one alone, and hit a single, a double and a homerun over seven at-bats on the day. Junior infielder Marshall Yanzick also contributed to the Red offense, recording two RBI and bringing his total to 11 this season.  Yanzick also leads the Red with a .323 batting average.Cornell took the lead early in game one by scoring twice in the first inning. Hager’s two-run homer changed the score again in the fourth, and another shot over the fence by freshman Tom D’Alessandro in the seventh sealed the deal for Cornell.The Red also scored first in game two thanks to a double by junior outfielder Brian Billigen, but this time the Tigers answered back. By the end of the second inning, Princeton led, 3-1. Cornell was able to reclaim the lead in the following inning by advancing on several errors, but did not hold it for long. The middle portion of the game was dominated by both teams’ pitchers, who combined to allow just one hit over three innings. By the end of the whirlwind game, Princeton had pulled ahead just enough to claim the 8-5 win over the Red.On Senior Day, Cornell allowed six runs to Princeton in each game Sunday afternoon despite good pitching performances, and itself managed only four runs in the two contests combined. In the first game, senior pitcher Taylor Wood threw a complete game, surrendering just two earned runs on eight hits. But three scores in the first inning by the visitors off two Cornell errors set the tone for the game as Princeton triumphed, 6-3.Cornell senior hurler Dan Lea produced another strong game on the mound for the Red in the second game, allowing two earned runs off seven hits in 7.1 innings to go along with eight strikeouts. Nonetheless, the Tigers produced a four-run eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie and tacked on an insurance run in the ninth for the final score, 6-1.“It wasn’t a good feeling to lose the last three games of the weekend after a win,” said sophomore infielder Brenton Peters, who hit a double in the first inning of Sunday’s second matchup. “It was tough losing to Princeton after opening up the series with a lot of promise. They’ve been playing really well lately, so it was two hot teams going up against each other and we just got the short end of the stick.”“It’s definitely tough to finish out the season this way after this little winning streak we had going,” Schmeltzer said. “Today you had guys like Taylor and Dan, who pretty much threw lights out and gave us a great opportunity to win, but our offense couldn’t get balls to drop. We hit the ball hard but right at people.”Peters echoed Schmeltzer’s praise of the Princeton defense.“We hit the ball hard but Princeton just played us in perfect position,” he said. “Their players only took one step in order to get to the ball. Any other team, any other position, we could have had about 20 or 30 hits today.”The Red had won five of its previous seven games before the series against the Tigers.Junior infielder Marshall Yanzick went 3-for-7 on the day while senior first baseman and pitcher Micky Brodsky connected on 3-of-8. It was Brodsky and six other Class of 2011 members’ last game in Ithaca.“[The seniors] have always put a bunch of effort into everything they’ve done,” Peters said. “In their sophomore year, they won the Ivy League Championship [for the second time in school history]. They explained the feeling of their last home ball game ever, and they came out and performed. A lot of those guys did very well — Micky did very well, Taylor pitched well. They played some great baseball and went out with a bang.”The Red battles Binghamton (17-20, 9-4 America East) on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Vestal, N.Y. in Cornell’s final regular season game. The two New York clubs were originally supposed to play on April 26, but the game was postponed due to rain.The Bearcats have won nine of their past twelve games, including Sunday’s game versus first-placed Stony Brook, in which sophomore Jay Lynch pitched his fourth win of the season in a complete game.The Cornell bullpen is aware of Binghamton freshman outfielder Bill Bereszniewicz, who leads the Bearcats with a .371 average, as well as sophomore Mike Thomson, who collected two RBI Sunday. Junior first baseman Dave Ciocchi leads the team with 27 RBI, as Binghamton holds the highest win percentage in the American East over the past seven years and is ranked sixth out of 68 teams in the Northwest region.The Red aims to conclude its difficult season with a win, and doesn’t know any  other way to go about it besides how it has the whole year.“I think we’re playing well right now, we’re just not getting the good hops on the field and aren’t getting balls to drop,” Schmeltzer said. “Honestly I just say, ‘Let’s do everything we’ve been doing and go out there and play.’”

Original Author: Rob Moore